The best camouflaged cycling gear for 2016
Fluoro schmuoro – here's a love letter to camo
While many predicted fluoro had done its dash last year, there seems to be a resurgence in stylish hi-vis clothing – for good reason, given that anything that makes you more visible on the road is a positive thing.
Our own Ben Delaney recently told us to ‘Light ‘em Up’, pointing out how simple (and fashionable) it can be to be much more visible on the road. As drivers become more distracted and aggravated, it puts us in danger, and the more visible we can be the better.
But for those of us good old boys (and girls) who like cutoff short jorts, duck hunting, and drinking PBR before the hipsters got a hold of it, there is another exciting trend in cycling clothing, although possibly a dangerous one – camouflage.
While the camo is a bit of a ‘wear at your own risk’ ordeal, as a card-carrying redneck I’m attracted to it like a fly to one of those light up bug zappers.
It’s now possible to outfit yourself from head to toe in camo – here are my top bits of leafy green, multicam and realtree.
Lazer Z1 helmet
The Z1 is the Belgian outfit’s newest top-end lid, and the new ‘Camoflash Yellow’ option looks pretty good to my eyes. With the growing number of optional add-ons for the Z1, like LifeBEAM, an integrated rear light, cafe lock and of course the aeroshell, this Lazer is pretty high on my wishlist.
Lizard Skins DPS 2.5mm bar tape
Lizard Skins DPS bar tape is a popular choice among the BikeRadar staff – the soft and tacky tape makes for comfy and confident riding in all conditions. While it’s always been available in some crazy combinations, we spotted a few new camouflage options at this year’s Interbike show.
Inside Line Equipment Seat Pack
If you’re anything like me, saddlebags are a necessary evil. Yes, we know the Rules dictate “No European Posterior Man-Satchels,” but all Inside Line Equipment (ILE) bags are made in California – so that makes them okay, right?
Available in some regular shades, the ILE Seat Pack also comes in three colours of Multicam camo. Made from the same nylon Cordura as ILE’s backpacks, the brand says the seat pack is big enough to hold a 29er tube, CO2 Inflator and a multitool.
Hand Up gloves
With a slogan like ‘Best for grabbin bars & beers’, how could you go wrong? These lightweight full finger gloves have a Clarino leather palm with silicone printed stars and bars as well as a soaring bald eagle.
While it does appear to talk a big game, Hand Up Gloves offers a money-back guarantee. Honourable mention goes the their Stars and Bars gloves… because ‘Merica.
Astute Skylite VT saddle
Sitting in the middle of the Italian saddle maker’s range, the Skylite VT comes in a ‘Military Orange Carbon’ colourway. We tested the regular version of this saddle last year, and it fared well with our Aussie ed Dave Rome commenting: “The most impressive aspect of this saddle is the versatility. It has the looks, features, style, weight and price of a top-level race saddle, but also offers all-day comfort.”
The Camo cover is made from a top blend microfibre, and the saddle features a carbon-reinforced base, full-carbon rails, and Astute’s Shock Pad Absorber System.
Ritchey Swiss Cross camo
Back in the day, you could get a Ritchey Commando Mountain Bike in camouflage. While it looked like this pattern was a thing of the past, in early 2015, Ritchey announced it’d be offering any of its steel frames in a custom camouflage option.
“We’ve painted a few Swiss Crosses using our traditional Ritchey Commando camo, and we’re working out the details to offer this as a custom option for customers by NAHBS,” says Sean Coffey from Ritchey Logic.
The socks maketh the kit, especially when it comes to camo. These days there’s so many people making socks it’s hard to keep up, but before your next outing why not pull on a pair of camo socks from Pedal Mafia, Stance or Pacific and Co? Giro even does a camo sock made from merino for those who prefer wool over cotton.
Many moons ago, Justin Abrams from Melbourne based The Pedla told us, “Camo is the new black.” Since then we’ve seen plenty of high-quality camo kits come to light from the Pedla, and others like Brandt Sorenson’s Multicam range, or Panache. We also can’t forget the Tinkoff Saxo training kit.
For those who want to stick out – or blend in, depending on your perspective – at the local crit or ‘cross race, Attaquer brought the Leafy Green camo back in skinsuit form.
There have been a few brands who’ve dipped their toe into camo cycling shoes. Giro did it with the Empire VR90, and Sidi offered the Dominator and Eagle 5 in camouflage versions – but unfortunately like mullets and down tube shifters they’ve come and gone.
However, Italian outfit Northwave in its infinite wisdom offers four camo models in the Extreme XC, Extreme XCM, Blade Plus, Hammer SRS and the Enduro Cedric Gracia pro model.
With the Extreme XC and XCM featuring carbon soles, and the Blade Plus and Hammer SRS featuring nylon soles, it’s not just those looking to spend top dollar that can have a pair of camo kicks.